Fooch's Note: Check out Riding The F Train's recap from camp today.
The 49ers began more formal game preparations for Friday's contest with the New Orleans Saints, featuring a mix of situational drills. It sounds like practice went really well today, particularly for the offense. I've linked some of the practice reports for you to peruse. James will have these links as well as others with the Nuggets tonight.
After practice, Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith both spoke with the media, and the 49ers passed along those transcripts this evening. I'll have some thoughts on what they said, but for now the complete transcripts are posted after the jump. You can enjoy Harbaugh's brief comments about Dashon Goldson's twitter account. Consider it a little bedtime reading.
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference - August 8, 2011
San Francisco 49ers
On whether he is adding more situational plays into practice due to the upcoming preseason game against the New Orleans Saints:
On where he would be in training camp if the lockout had not occurred:
"We would have been a little bit ahead if there were more practices, but not that significant. A couple days maybe."
On what he would like to get out of the preseason games:
"Haven't been a head coach of a preseason game yet. The biggest thing I'd like to get out of it is to stay healthy. [I would] like there to be sharp execution, be able to take the snap from center and get lined up on defense, play calls, on the special teams, being in the right spots and not getting kicks blocked. Have a level of execution and see our guys under live bullets and crowd noise, be able to play under pressure. Also, see fanatical effort."
On how long he plans on playing his starters:
"We have a pitch count with the starters. It will be somewhere around plays in the twenties."
On whether he plans on playing RB Frank Gore in the preseason:
"Yeah, I would like to see Frank get some touches."
On whether Gore will get more than a handful of touches:
On how many players assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Brad Seely will be able keep on the 53-man roster solely as special teamers:
"We'll make all of those decisions as an organization. With one priority, what's best for the team."
On evaluating special teams players during preseason games:
"We'll be looking for...there will be anywhere from four, to six, to seven players who will make this team because they're core players and they play on all four phases. There will be also backing up in other positions and making the team because of their talents elsewhere, or young and working their way up the depth chart. There's definitely going to be guys who make the team that they feed their families on playing on the special teams."
On his level of enjoyment coaching the quarterbacks and whether his expectations are being met:
"My expectations are to have good practices and to go out and get better. Those are my expectations. To be better today than we were yesterday. I felt today's practice was our best practice of training camp so far. We'll try to make tonight's meetings the best meetings of the year and see if we can't come back tomorrow and be better. Definitely coaching the finer points and they've grasped things very quickly so we can start getting into a lot of the finer details. I'm really pleased how fast they've come along, in all regards, mentally and understanding the offense. Now we can really get into a lot of the mechanics and finer details of the system."
On what made this practice the best one of training camp:
"I thought the effort was really good. I thought the execution was good on both sides of the ball, both sides made plays. I thought our defense played well. We didn't get our hands on as many balls today, defensively, but offense made some...there's a lot of give and take. That's one thing as a head coach you like to see. You like to see defense making plays. You like to see offense making plays. Both had their moments, but I thought it was a higher level of execution and effort. Just overall, that was a good practice today."
On how he feels about the depth of the safety position and the different kinds of athletes he has back there with S Dashon Goldson now returning:
"I feel good with the talent in the secondary and I think that really makes the competition all that much better. Dashon's a 49er and pleased that he's coming back. We've had a couple of conversations and I think he's ready to get to work and iron sharpens iron, so, looking forward to that."
On whether he'll just let the guys in the secondary compete and find out what their roles will be:
"Yes. Yes, I mean, that's what we've really said that all along and that really does go for every position."
On whether he gave Goldson a call like he did to S Donte Whitner before he signed:
"Yes, yeah. I mean, you got to pick up the phone and call, that's what you got to do."
On whether he's the closer:
"No, gosh no, no, no. There's really no recruiting going on. We're really, in the sense you would think of it as, just tell him what we have to offer, why this would be, in our opinion, the best place for him to be and you know guys are going to make the best decisions for their family and themselves. Just excited he wants to continue to be a Niner."
On whether Goldson would have been signed had S Reggie Smith not been dealing with an injury:
"Would he have? Yes."
On whether Goldson would have come back regardless:
"Well, I mean I can't put myself in somebody else's mind and speak exact, so..."
On whether he thinks Goldson will play in the preseason game this week:
"We'll see, yeah, we'll see."
On Goldson stating on Twitter that he wasn't coming back to the 49ers and whether the team felt the same way:
"We're just excited he's coming back. I mean, I'm not debating what was on-I don't even know what was on Twitter, so I can't really, again, speak intelligently about something I don't know about."
On whether he follows Goldson on Twitter:
On whether the workload at practice will lessen and be less physical as they prepare for a game this week:
"Well, they got...no, there's no attempt at that. We're still going full throttle."
On whether he is pleased with QB Alex Smith and QB Colin Kaepernick picking up the system:
"Yes. I thought they both made plays today and executed it at a pretty, darn high level today and I am pleased with the way they are picking things up. Like I said before, they've really kind of mastered the overall game plan and really, and a lot of the parts of it and a lot of the finer details of it and just keep getting better at it. They're both really bright guys and they are both talented guys, so I'm very pleased with how they are progressing."
On whether Goldson will practice tomorrow:
On how he sees QB Alex Smith being effective for this team:
"We want him to be good at everything. We want him to get as good as he can possibly be. Playing the quarterback position, exactly what we are going to do schematically to move the football, are we going to run the ball, are we going to pass the ball, are we going to play action? Yes. Are we going to go from the shotgun? Yes. Those are all things that will be incorporated into our offense."
On players saying the coaches have shown the team tapes of other NFL teams:
"No, a lot of the plays we're running, when you install them, there's a playbook and that's on paper and it's diagramed, but we also want to show them visually the principle and the other teams in the NFL are running them. Whoever we can find that was running that principle, we wanted to show NFL players doing those principles."
On whether he will game plan for the Saints or stick to his own game plan:
"We're going to be honing in on what we need to get improved. You saw today, we're still installing. Today we got backed up coming out of our own end zone, four minute, two minute situations, so we're still installing."
QB Alex Smith
Press Conference - August 8, 2011
San Francisco 49ers
On Coach Harbaugh saying it was probably one of the best practices of camp and whether he felt so as well:
"It's definitely the best I felt like. We're taking the necessary steps. I think that's what's important; continue to get better each day, it's obviously early, but just focusing on watching this film and getting better and being better tomorrow. I don't think you can get too carried away with looking too far forward. Stay focused with now, stay patient, and just continue to work."
On whether he has been concentrating on throwing those back-shoulder type throws to [WR] Braylon Edwards:
"It's just something that's out there. Obviously, Braylon just got here and we're all still learning it and trying to get better. Just something, not just for him, but for everybody. It's another tool for us and another concept to throw at people."
On whether the team has used that type of play in the past:
"Those are things that you get taught, get coached and part of the playbook, and he made a great catch on a couple of them."
On whether he sees a definite change in the offense from what he has been used to:
"Yeah, of course, lots of new things, which is great. It's exciting. I think we're embracing them as a team. I think the entire team is getting on board and that's what we need."
On whether he sees it as a change for the better:
"Obviously, what we were doing wasn't working, all of us, me included. That's the definition of insanity right? Doing the same thing and expecting different results. Embracing the change, working hard, like I said, just getting better."
On having Coach Harbaugh so involved in the huddle:
"Not so much just offensively, but even the fact that he played my position and for all of us quarterbacks to get a chance to have him hands on, to have him demonstrate, to have him jump out there and still get in and be competitive, that's fun. But it's great to see it. I know for all of us it's great to have a visual explanation sometimes, instead of it getting told to you. To get to see it happen, even from an old guy, it's good."
On what he gets from looking at other successful NFL teams:
"We look at a lot of film, a lot of different tape, a lot of different offenses and quarterbacks and take things from a lot of people. But just talk in general, especially about the quarterback position, how to play it from the smallest details in footwork to general decision making, things like that."
On opening practice with long routes today as opposed to a lot of check-downs in previous practices:
"I think just taking what they were giving us. It's funny, checking the ball down is kind of the epicenter of the west coast offense. Hitting backs quick, getting the ball into their hands and space and letting them run. Checking the ball down in the west coast offense if you're making good decisions and getting through your reads is a good thing. I don't think there's an emphasis either way. We're going through our reads, trying to make good decisions and throw the ball where it's supposed to go, where the defense is taking us and that's it. Day-to-day, where the ball goes, I think it's just a determination of what they're giving us and if we're making good decisions."
On how he would define west coast offense:
"I think if you go back, I might be corrected, but it's timing in the passing game, the ball's getting out, all of the routes are tied in the quarterback's footwork, there's a correlation with how the concepts are built and you're spreading the ball around to all your targets, everybody's touching it and you're getting them into space and you're letting them run. The whole idea that you can do some of that quick passing game and underneath passing game and it's basically an extension of the run game. I think when it started out, that's how I understand it."
On what Coach Harbaugh meant when he said installation of the offense and fine-tuning was still taking place this week:
"Well yeah, obviously we're still installing, still going, this is camp. But in the back of your head you're ticking down, you know you've got a game on Friday, it's four days away, it's going to be three days away tomorrow. You've got both going on, but the big picture here, we're installing, we're going, we're trying to get better. I understand that that game is there on Friday and we're going to go out and compete. We're not looking ahead right now, really just focused on each day."
On whether Coach Harbaugh's visual explanations on the field are usually pertaining to footwork:
"I mean anything, you're talking about eyes, the fundamentals of playing quarterback. Sometimes it is feet, but a lot of things."
On how well Coach Harbaugh can throw the ball:
"He throws it pretty good, for an old guy. Yeah, he throws it good."
On how footwork needs to be adjusted playing from the shotgun in the West Coast offense:
"It's just an extension anytime you're in the gun. Those all just adapt whether it's a seven-stop drop, a five-stop drop, whether it's three steps, those all get adjusted from the gun."
On whether he wants to play more in the upcoming preseason opener at the New Orleans Saints than he might normally play in a preseason game:
"To be totally honest, I'm not thinking about it, I have no idea. I honestly haven't thought about it. I was pretty focused on today and trying to get better and change some things and then look at the film and then move on to tomorrow. I'm going to be honest with you, not really thinking about the Saints at all."
On whether there is a sense of urgency in camp because you had said before the team is behind the eight ball:
"Absolutely. I feel like there's a sense of urgency. I feel like we're getting the most out of each day. Guys are working hard on the field and in the meeting room in their books, picking up things. We're continuing to install and guys continue to soak it all up."
On whether Coach Harbaugh's presentation in coaching is very intense or is it cerebral:
"It depends I guess on his demeanor at the moment. Sometimes, we're in a meeting room and we're walking through things and talking through things and he's very laid back. Sometimes we're on the field and he's getting fired up. So, I mean, just like all of us, it just depends on how we're all feeling."
On whether the addition of WR Braylon Edwards to the offense makes this the most talented offense he has ever played on:
"We've got a lot of great weapons. It's tough to compare every single year that I've been here. I'm not going to try to do that. We've got a lot of weapons. I think it's a special opportunity for us. We've got a lot of ability and we need to take advantage of it."